A remarkable feature in pancreatic cancer is the propensity to metastasize early, even for small, early stage cancers. We use a computer-based pancreatic model to simulate tumor progression behavior where fluid-sensitive migration mechanisms are accounted for as a plausible driver for metastasis. The model has been trained to comply with in vitro results to determine input parameters that characterize the migration mechanisms. To mimic previously studied preclinical xenografts we run the computer model informed with an ensemble of stochastic-generated realizations of unknown parameters related to tumor microenvironment only constrained such that pathological realistic values for interstitial fluid pressure (IFP) are obtained. The in silico model suggests the occurrence of a steady production of small clusters of cancer cells that detach from the primary tumor and form isolated islands and thereby creates a natural prerequisite for a strong invasion into the lymph nodes and venous system. The model predicts that this behavior is associated with high interstitial fluid pressure (IFP), consistent with published experimental findings. The continuum-based model is the first to explain published results for preclinical models which have reported associations between high IFP and high metastatic propensity and thereby serves to shed light on possible mechanisms behind the clinical aggressiveness of pancreatic cancer.
Keywords: Autologous chemotaxis; Cell-migration; Interstitial fluid pressure; Mathematical modeling; Metastasis; Pancreatic cancer.
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